Filmmaker Badir McCleary: Exploring the Soul of Public Art [Podcast]
What role does public art play in our communities? And how has it changed across human history? From England’s prehistoric Stonehenge to Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago, public art transforms landscapes, combats isolation, and reinvigorates cities and public spaces. Whether it provides space for sacred rituals or acts as a monument, public art has the power to spark conversations and deepen our sense of community.
Today, we’re honored to welcome public art enthusiast Badir McCleary back to the podcast. On a special bonus episode, NOT REAL ART founder and host Scott “Sourdough” Power sits down with Badir to discuss Remote, the filmmaker’s ongoing video series on the power of public art. “With public art, people feel like it's theirs, especially as a taxpayer in America,” says Badir, who treks to a different location—sometimes two or three—for each episode. “In a public space, you're like, ‘Yeah, I've put at least some money into this. I can get a little bit closer.’ And I think that's what's needed. People need to feel like they have agency in [public art] because then they'll protect it, they'll engage with it, they'll have something to say about it—they won't just ‘never mind’ it.”
Created in partnership with NOT REAL ART, Remote explores the evolving role of public art and its ability to transform communities, facilitate connection, and cultivate culture. Today, Badir gives us an overview of the project, from the first episode to the fifth and most current, where he visits the National Mall in Washington, D.C. “What would America be if it didn't have all these colorful things like art?” he asks, reflecting on the capitol’s bulky concrete architecture. “What would [America] be if we just looked at all these brutalist buildings down in D.C. on Capitol Hill?”
Our conversation also unpacks key themes in public art, including the role of technology in contemporary pieces, why allocating resources to marketing and storytelling is essential, and how public art fosters community engagement. Join us for a fascinating discussion on the complexity of public art with the creator of Remote, Badir McCleary.
Watch the series trailer below, then watch episode one: “Desert X”; watch episode two: “Aesthetic Information as Public Art”; watch episode three: “Perception of Public Art; watch episode four: “Becoming a Public Art City”; watch episode five: “We’re Going to the Mall!”